TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - A coalition of three nursing
associations representing nurses from across the country say the
Supreme Court of Canada's unanimous ruling today to keep Insite -
Vancouver's safe injection facility - open is a great victory for harm
reduction and for the clients who rely on the facility for help and
"This ruling puts health first," says Doris Grinspun, executive director
of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's (RNAO). "The court
made a clear finding that Insite saves lives and that nurses play an
important role in harm reduction. We've always believed this facility
needed to remain open so nurses and other health-care professionals can
continue to provide their clients with expert support and help them
overcome their addiction."
RNAO, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Association of
Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) were granted intervener
status before the high court when the court heard arguments in May.
"Nurses throughout Canada are incredibly encouraged by this decision,"
said Rachel Bard, Chief Executive Officer of CNA. "We see firsthand the
evidence of how well harm reduction programs work to improve the health
of Canadians, especially vulnerable populations dealing with poverty,
mental illness and homelessness. As nurses, we're responsible for and
committed to providing safe, compassionate, competent care and
improving the health of those in need."
"Insite wouldn't be successful without the nurses and other health-care
professionals. They play an integral role in harm reduction," says Rob
Calnan, co-chair of ARNBC.
Nurses with the three groups say today's decision goes beyond Vancouver
and raises the possibility that similar facilities could open in other
jurisdictions where harm reduction programs are deemed necessary for
public health. The nursing associations say it's important to engage
the public and muster the political will of all elected officials so
people in all jurisdictions can get the treatment they need and
When created in 2003, Insite operated under an exemption to a federal
law governing the use of controlled drugs and substances. That
exemption expired in 2008, and was not renewed by the Conservative
government. Two court decisions in B.C. upheld Insite's ability to
continue operating. Today's ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada
dismissed the federal government's appeal of the B.C. court rulings.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in
Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy,
promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution
to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect
nurses and the public they serve.
CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A
federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and
colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the
practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and
strengthen Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.
The Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) was
incorporated in July 2010 and represents nurses from all service
sectors and domains of practice. The Association's mandate is to
advance the profession's perspectives in health and social policy
SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information:
To arrange an interview with a nurse or for more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209
Rob Calnan, Co-Chair of the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia
Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association